True to tradition, no edition of Transit would be complete without the closing concert stimulating a few other senses besides your ears. This year, the HERMESensemble is taking on this challenge, with a programme melding music and images. Video artist Kurt Ralske will provide a visual response to Atlantic Wall by Wim Henderickx and the new work by Vykintas Baltakas. Between those works will be Henri Storck’s silent film Histoire du Soldat inconnu (1932), for which Annelies Van Parys has supplied a captivating new score three-quarters of a century on.
Wim Henderickx / Vykintas Baltakas / Annelies Van Parys
Copresentation La Biennale di Venezia
Vykintas Baltakas (Vilnius, 1972) is a musical Scheherazade. His music keeps pulling you in and referencing itself, sometimes branching off and reinventing itself, and sometimes returning to where it started. He weaves musical stories that are linked with a delicate interconnected web. In 1993 he moved to Karlsruhe, Germany, where he studied composition with Wolfgang Rihm and conducting with Andreas Weiss. From 1994 to 1997 he also worked with Peter Eötvös at the Music Academy in Karlsruhe and at the Hungarian composer’s International Institute. His view of musical composition and conducting is one of reciprocity. He says that both as a composer or conductor “you can influence it, suggest ideas, give it direction, make decisions. You give impulses but you also receive impulses back from the music that you then process again, and which then reflects back.”
Annelies Van Parys
For Van Parys it is not so much the exploration of sound 'as such' that is important, although it obviously plays a role, but rather the sensation that creates the sound effects. Therein lies a fundamental difference: a shift from object to subject. The sensation of her scores is the result of an empirical process, based on meticulous observations of acoustic phenomena. There are the almost mathematical structures, the strict structures in which all aspects (from great shape to the smallest detail) meet the same proportions. She is always looking for a unit within micro- and macro- structures - within which she does not shun the traditional forms, instead embracing these in an unique musical voice.
Wim Henderickx studied composition and percussion at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp as well as sonology at the IRCAM in Paris and the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. Inspiration from other cultures as well as use of electronics are recurring elements in his work. He teaches composition at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp and at the Conservatory of Amsterdam and is senior lecturer at the yearly summer course SoundMine for young composers at Musica, Impulse Centre for Music. He has received numerous national and international prizes, and in 2015 he became a member of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Art and Science.
Over the past ten years the Antwerp based HERMESensemble has been exploring and crossing the limits of contemporary music. Apart from creating contemporary repertoire and new music, the ensemble often works with video and multimedia, and prefers researching adventurous encounters with popular music, jazz and early music. Apart from regularly performing in the most renowned Belgian theatres and festivals, HERMESensemble often performs in The Netherlands, France, Germany, United Kingdom and Austria, and has been a returning guest of the Philharmonie de Luxembourg and the Venice Biennial Festival.
Contemporary music has always been a cornerstone of Manoj Kamps’ conducting career. This season, he conducts the premiere of Calliope Tsoupaki’s Requiem for the November Music festival in Den Bosch. Last season, he conducted the Dutch premiere of The Gender Agenda by Philip Venables with
Asko|Schönberg at Muziekgebouw Amsterdam, the premiere of Hilda Paredes’ Coded Messages: Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman with Muziektheater Transparant and HERMESensemble (which toured to festivals including Cervantino in Mexico and Huddersfield International Contemporary Music Festival), and the semi-staged premiere of MILA, Great Sorcerer by Andrea Clearfield with The Knights Orchestra at New York’s Prototype Festival.